CDBS Electronic Filing System
Exhibits and Attachments Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

Questions and Answers

Q. Can I include both text exhibits and attachments?

Yes. You can enter a text exhibit and attach any number of files for each Exhibit on a CDBS form.

Q. What formats are accepted for attachments?

With one exception (see below) all attachments must be Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format). General information about PDF format can be found at Adobe Systems Incorporated's web site (www.adobe.com). One useful web page is at: Adobe PDF Information.

Note: Before May 1, 2002, other common file formats were also accepted (that were then automatically converted to PDF by CDBS). For more information, see the answer to Why PDF only.

If you attempt to upload a non-PDF attachment, the system will give an Error message. If you attempt to Copy a form with non-PDF attachments, the attachments will not be copied and a warning message will be added to the description of each (not-copied) attachment in the new form.

There is one exhibit on Form 301 and 340 that requires a spreadsheet rather than a PDF file. This spreadsheet must be in XML Spreadsheet format. For more information, see the answer to Upload a Spreadsheet Exhibit.

Q. Why are attachments stored as PDF?

We want to make it as easy as possible for both the public and FCC analysts to be able to view any attachment by using a common format that does not require that each person have all the applications needed to read all possible formats. The Portable Document Format (PDF) allows anybody with a PDF-reading program (such as the free Adobe Acrobat Reader) to view any attached file.

More information about (including how to download) the Acrobat Reader can be found by clicking on: Adobe Acrobat Reader

Q. Why did the MB decide to stop automatically converting attachments and require that they be submitted as PDF only?

There are a few reasons why the FCC MB has decided to require that CDBS attachments be converted to PDF by the applicant prior to their attaching and submitting to the FCC.
  • Many tools exist to convert files of various types to PDF and these tools can be used for little or no cost. See the next question: How can I convert files to PDF.
  • By having the applicant do the conversion, the applicant and the FCC can be sure that the PDF version of the file is exactly what the applicant intended.
  • There had been occasional instances where the CDBS automated conversion to PDF had problems converting unusually formatted documents (for example, locked spreadsheets or documents with embedded graphics).

Q. How can I convert files to PDF?

Conversion of files to PDF format can be done easily and quickly using one of the methods described below.

  1. Use a low cost Web-based conversion service such as: Adobe Create PDF Online.
  2. Use a software product that converts files to PDF format such as Adobe Acrobat (which is different from Adobe Acrobat Reader).
  3. Use a program (such as Word Perfect 10) that has a built-in capability to save files in PDF, so no separate conversion tool or service would be needed.
Note: The FCC does not endorse or recommend a specific tool or company to perform the conversion to PDF.

Q. My attachment is a combination of more than one format - do you have any advice for converting?

Complex files with more than one type may be unable to be converted to PDF. For example, if you have a word processing document (such as from MS Word), and a picture (such as in JPEG format), do not embed the picture in the word processing document. Instead, convert them individually to PDF and attach them separately. Embedding graphics in other documents (even if these graphics are the only thing in the file) may cause you to have conversion problems.

Q. How do I prepare and upload the DTV DTS elevation pattern spreadsheet exhibit?

A DTV station may be authorized to operate multiple synchronized transmitters on its assigned channel to provide service consistent with the requirements of 47 C.F.R. Section 73.626 of the Commission's rules. Such operation is called a distributed transmission system (DTS). The construction permit forms (301 for a commercial station, and 340 for a noncommercial educational station) for this service type require a special exhibit to report transmitter site elevation patterns. The following paragraph is copied from the form instructions:

    Item 9g. Required Exhibit. The applicant must attach as an Exhibit all data specified in 47 C.F.R. Section 73.625(c). The elevation antenna (or radiation) pattern data must be submitted in Office Open XML ("Excel Spreadsheet") format with the first column containing depression angle values and second (and subsequent, when applicable) column(s) containing relative field values. When applicable, the first row shall list the azimuth angle being tabulated. The range of depression angles shall be 10 degrees above horizontal (-10 degrees depression) to 90 degrees below horizontal (90 degrees depression) and shall include data points spaced not more than 0.5-degree between -5 and 10 degrees depression angle, and not more than 5 degrees elsewhere. All pattern minima and maxima shall be included. Additional elevation antenna (or radiation) pattern data may be included following the column corresponding to 350 degrees TN so that the direction(s) of maximum and minimum radiation are provided. A relative field value of 1 shall correspond to the azimuth and depression angles corresponding to the direction of maximum ERP.

For Form 301, this is Exhibit #58 (for Question 9g of Section III-E, DTS Engineering - Technical Specifications). For Form 340, this is Exhibit #48 (for Question 9g of Section VIII, DTS Engineering - Technical Specifications). When you click on the exhibit button, a page will open that looks similar to the ordinary page for uploading a PDF attachment (the system skips the text exhibit, since it does not apply for this question). When you upload the appropriate file, the system will attempt to process it and report if any problems were found (such as an invalid format or values of the wrong type or out of range). After uploading, you can View the spreadsheet or Delete it.For Form 301, this is Exhibit #58 (for Question 9g of Section III-E, DTS Engineering - Technical Specifications). For Form 340, this is Exhibit #48 (for Question 9g of Section VIII, DTS Engineering - Technical Specifications). When you click on the exhibit button, a page will open that looks similar to the ordinary page for uploading a PDF attachment (the system skips the text exhibit, since it does not apply for this question). When you upload the appropriate file, the system will attempt to process it and report if any problems were found (such as an invalid format or values of the wrong type or out of range). After uploading, you can View the spreadsheet or Delete it.

You can prepare the data using a spreadsheet program. When you save the file, make sure that you pick the appropriate type. For Microsoft Excel, this type is called "XML Spreadsheet". Note: Extensible Markup Language (XML) is being used because there are tools to easily create it (e.g. MS Excel) and process the data. For those of you who know about XML, it is not necessary to import or create a schema. Just follow the spreadsheet format as described above. The following are illustrations of valid spreadsheets (with abbreviated patterns, not reflecting a real antenna).

Illustration of a Simple/Standard Pattern

    AB
    1-10.00.501
    20.00.800
    390.00.750

Illustration of a (partial) Complex Pattern (with one additional azimuth)
    ABC...AKAL
    1 010...350333.3
    2-10.00.5010.544...0.5010.425
    30.00.7770.765...0.7000.711
    420.00.3300.370...0.3440.310

Helpful hints for data values:

  • Depression angle values should be between -10.0 and 90.0 (inclusive).
  • Azimuth values (for complex patterns) should be from 0 to 350 (by 10s, in order). Additional azimuths afterward must be between 0.1 and 359.9 (inclusive), and must not duplicate one of the standard required azimuths.
  • Relative field values must be between 0.001 and 1.000 (inclusive).

Q. How do I view a DTV DTS elevation pattern spreadsheet exhibit?

As described by the previous answer, DTS construction permit forms have a special elevation pattern spreadsheet exhibit. There are three ways to view an uploaded spreadsheet.
  1. You can view it by pressing the "View" button after a successful upload (or later when you go back into the exhibit).
  2. When you use "Print Form" from the Main Menu, the spreadsheet can be viewed by clicking on the appropriate link in the Exhibits/Attachment section at the end of the application.
  3. Similarly, when you use the Application link when printing an application via Public Access "Application Search", you can click on the appropriate link in the Exhibits/Attachment section at the end of the application.

In all these cases, the behavior depends on your browser (e.g., Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc.) and your computer operating system, (e.g., PC, Mac, etc.). In general, when a popup asks whether you want to Save the file or Open it, it is usually better to Save it to a file. Then, you can later explicitly specify the desired spreadsheet program to use to open the file to view the elevation pattern. If, however, you pick "Open", your browser may try to do what it thinks is best (which may not be successful). It could try to display the spreadsheet in the same browser window or attempt to open a spreadsheet program and send the file to it. Again, this might work, but it might not.

There is one unusual situation to be aware of. When Microsoft Internet Explorer opens a newly uploaded spreadsheet in the browser window after the "View" button is used (if you picked "Open"), it overlays the existing "successful upload" page. When you use the browser's Back button/command, the browser will display the previous "start the upload process" page, because that actually is the previous page. That page will not be automatically refreshed by the browser to show the successful upload. Do not panic thinking that the uploaded file has disappeared! Instead, use the CDBS "Previous" button to return to the form, and then go back into the exhibit if you want to satisfy yourself that it is really still there.

Q. What is the maximum size of an attached file?

The system will not accept an attached file over 10 Megabytes in size. However, any exhibit can have as many separate files as needed. We recommend that attachments be broken into small, logical parts.

Q. After I attach files in my Electronic Filing Account, they do not show up properly when I try to view them.

When you try to view an attachment in your browser by clicking on the link, your browser will need to have an appropriate PDF plugin or helper application to display it. If not, you may be prompted to choose an application or the browser may even make the wrong choice and display it incorrectly. If this happens, check your browser settings for viewing PDF files. Another way to double-check your attached files is to save them to your local machine (often right-clicking on the link will give you this capability) and then open them up with a tool that can read PDF.

Q. When I view my application through Public Access, some of my attachments are not showing up.

There may occasionally be instances where attachments that were uploaded successfully may not have been properly transferred to the CDBS processing database. Please contact the FCC if you notice that this has occurred.

Q. Why did my text exhibit not show up through Public Access? The description shows up from my account.

The system stores text exhibits and attachment exhibits. Each text exhibit and attachment has its own description. A text exhibit that just has a description is only temporarily saved as the form is being prepared. The system only stores exhibits that have data in them. If a text exhibit has a description but no actual text, it will not be permanently stored in CDBS and therefore when the application is displayed from Public Access, the empty text exhibit will be not displayed (nor will its orphaned description).

Q. My system tries to attach files, but it never finishes the operation.

Some Internet Service Providers (ISP's) limit the size of files that can be attached (transmitted through their system). Please contact your ISP to see if this is the case. Try separating your attachments into smaller files. Be aware that if you have a slow modem, you may have to wait a long time to upload large files. For example, a 1 megabyte file may take 5-10 minutes to upload over a 56K modem. Also, some browsers may not provide any useful uploading progress feedback and instead only show "Contacting host" through the entire process. Please be patient.

Q. My system gets "Connection reset by peer" or "Server or DNS not found" trying attach a file and it never finishes the operation.

Attached files must be smaller that 10 Megabytes. In some cases, you may not get an informative error message but rather something more cryptic, like "Network Error. Connection reset by peer" or "Server or DNS not found." If you get either of these, make sure that your attachment is less than 10 Megabytes in size.

Q. Why did my exhibit numbers suddenly change to unexpected (large) numbers?

When using CDBS, you should not use your browser's navigation (such as Back or Forward) buttons. You must use the CDBS "Previous" and "Menu" buttons instead. For example, if you use your browser's "Back" button from the Attachment screen, the browser and CDBS may get out of sync which causes the unusual exhibit numbering to appear when returning to the containing section. These numbers are not yet saved, so do not press the Save or Validate buttons for a section with unusual exhibit numbers. Please restart your browser and log back in to CDBS - the section should be OK when you reopen it.


The general CDBS User's Guide can be found at:

The most recent copy of this FAQ can be found at:

If these links no longer work, the current URLs can always be found on the Media Bureau Electronic Filing page at:

Last updated on: October 30, 2009